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A real eye-opener.

Down time comes in many forms, as this somniferously illustrated survey of the natural world reveals.

Though all the sleepy faces and figures in Caldecott Honoree Page’s exactly detailed, collagelike digital illustrations may cumulatively have a soporific effect, Ward has shocking news for readers who think lying down and remaining unconscious through the night—called “monophasic sleep”—is uniform practice in the animal kingdom. In fact, drawing on 16 examples, she identifies several sleeplike processes, from the hibernation of bears and equivalent states, such as brumation and estivation, to the half-brain-at-a-time shutdowns (“unihemispheric slow-wave sleep”) of whales and dolphins. Animals also sleep for varying amounts of time; giraffes nap for only about five minutes at a time, whereas little brown bats sack out for 20 hours a day, and koalas for even more. All of this information is presented in both digestible bits throughout and in a closing summation that includes pie charts for human sleep needs at different ages. With an eye to bedtime read-alouds, the author also pairs each somnolent portrait with a drowsy verse like this one, addressed to a tan-skinned young snoozer: “Child, / at sunrise you are on the go! / But once it’s dark, it’s time to slow / and snuggle, sleeping through the night, / while waiting for the morning light.”

A real eye-opener. (glossary, selected sources) (Informational picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781665935104

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe.

An introduction to gravity.

The book opens with the most iconic demonstration of gravity, an apple falling. Throughout, Herz tackles both huge concepts—how gravity compresses atoms to form stars and how black holes pull all kinds of matter toward them—and more concrete ones: how gravity allows you to jump up and then come back down to the ground. Gravity narrates in spare yet lyrical verse, explaining how it creates planets and compresses atoms and comparing itself to a hug. “My embrace is tight enough that you don’t float like a balloon, but loose enough that you can run and leap and play.” Gravity personifies itself at times: “I am stubborn—the bigger things are, the harder I pull.” Beautiful illustrations depict swirling planets and black holes alongside racially diverse children playing, running, and jumping, all thanks to gravity. Thorough backmatter discusses how Sir Isaac Newton discovered gravity and explains Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. While at times Herz’s explanations may be a bit too technical for some readers, burgeoning scientists will be drawn in.

An in-depth and visually pleasing look at one of the most fundamental forces in the universe. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 15, 2024

ISBN: 9781668936849

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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